1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

saturated + semi-frozen excavation... what now?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by soopa, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. soopa

    soopa LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Posts: 135

    Trying to squeeze in one last paver project before snow fall I may have shot myself in the foot.

    ~1200 sq ft pool deck replacement. We whipped through the demo on Day 1, and then on Day 2, we only completed half the excavation due to equipment troubles.

    That night we had our first deep frost of the season (ground frozen 6" deep), and then we got 2" of rain.

    Everything turned to muck and my hole has 2" of muddy slush.

    What can I do to work through this before spring, if anything. Can I avoid excavating another several inches deep?

    Finish depth was intended to be 14" below TOP (~10" base).

    Weather forecast for next week or so is 40's during the day and 20's at night.
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    For a precise base preparation / installation you're going to need unfrozen, dry ground and unfrozen aggregate.

    Many could disagree with what I'm about to write, keep in mind we've been laying pavers for 12.5 years:

    We have installed pavers over frozen aggregate, on an annual basis, and we have never had any problems. Once your base is 100% finished, frozen or non-frozen - you're good to go. We do it all the time.

    Keep in mind, an aggregate base will freeze regardless if the patio was completed back in August or if it is under construction.
  3. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    How about giving him some solutions for his proablem?

    I'd excavate atleast another six inches. Lay down fabric and then installed 6" of 2.5" crushed stone. Compact it good. Then install another layer of fabric and go about your normal base installation. It will be fine.
  4. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    Thats what i used to do. Crushed stone will help keep the water from pumping up.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    Rusk, you're really something 'ol boy! You really are!

    My solution is what I wrote.

    Couple days with no rain, couple days of wind, couple days with temps over 40 - and things will dry up.

    Will your cost sheet allow for the additional time and expense to excavate even deeper. And then what, export the spoils from the site?

    All that adds up.

    you can wait it out and collect your check as estimated. Or you can incurr additional expenses and collect a check with a smaller profit.
  6. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    Waiting it out is a risky as just throwing the base in on top of the spongey ground.
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417


    dude, excavating an additional 6-inches of 1,200 square feet means that 40 tons of additional aggregate will be necessary (after compaction, and thats not even factoring in the shoulder around the outer perimeter).

    If someone is anxious to get the job done, that tells me they're anxious because they want the money.

    Can Soopa absorb the cost of an additional 40 tons of aggregate? Again, along with the expense of excavating, along with the expense of hauling away the spoils. If you excavate 1200 SF at 6-inches with a 30% fluff factor - that is 28-29 cubic feet of spoils, which equates to two tandem loads.

    It all adds up. It really does.

    In life we have the way things *should* be and we have reality......

  8. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,315

    What was the agreement with the client? Did they have knowledge of the possible interruption? You may have to eat some cost if you said it would be done before snow. Otherwise, get a check from them for completed work and tell them you'll see them in April.
  9. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    Well thats really not a big deal if you have equipment. 40 tons is 2 good triaxle loads. Reclaim here is $7 a ton. I still dont see the problem. get r done. If profit margins are that slim that you have more to worry about................
  10. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,635

    Hire a couple more guys to get the base prepped asap. Scrap the 2 or 3 inches off (no choice now) since it likely won't dry up anytime soon. Its obvious time is of the essence. Bite the bullet and spend the few extra bucks on the base. If you cut it so close as to not make any money on it....I say your in the wrong business. This isn't the case right? In my case I pay the extra, I get the job done one day or 2 later at most, I've spent maybe a grand or so extra and the job is done. Or sit and wait for the hole to dry up and likely it won't it will just be frozen muck and you'll have no choice but to leave a freakin mess for your clients til spring.

Share This Page